If you have been injured in a car accident, you most likely need to seek compensation to cover your medical bills and lost wages. Before hiring an attorney for your legal representation, it is a good idea to know a little bit about their fees and other costs that can be associated with an injury settlement case. Here are three items you should know about attorney fees in a car accident settlement to help you get through this process more easily.
How Contingency Fees Work
After you have been in a car accident and you have injuries sustained from the crash, it is important to hire an attorney who specializes in car crash accidents. You are not only dealing with loss of income from likely not being able to work but also hospitalization, treatment, and rehabilitation for your injuries. You also may not have the funds available to pay a retainer fee to hire an attorney to represent you. For this reason, many types of injury and car crash attorneys will represent you and work on a contingency fee basis.
While working on a contingency fee basis, your attorney does not receive any payment from you and is working for free until they can win a settlement for your injury case. Only if they win a settlement will they get paid, so they are going to work their best for you so you both can get compensated.
Most contingency fee agreements with a car accident and injury attorney will cost you one-third of the settlement amount, or 33.3 percent. If your case ends up going to court because a settlement cannot be reached for you, the contingency fee may increase to 40 percent.
When to Negotiate Fees
Before you hire your attorney and sign a contract agreeing to their contingency fees, you should know when you can negotiate their fees. There are a couple situations that allow you to ask for a decrease in fees.
One situation in which you should negotiate is when you have already completed some of the preparation work of collecting information for your car accident injury case. This type of information collected can include items such as police reports, estimates or bills for vehicle damage, correspondence from your auto insurance adjuster, medical records and bills, witness testimonies, photographs, and wage verification information from your employer.
Providing any of this information to your attorney will help them, as they will not have to spend the time collecting and organizing the information. Then, your attorney can charge you less in attorney fees, as you have already completed some of their work for them.
You should also ask for a fee negotiation if your medical costs are going to be quite high, which can result in you getting little or nothing from the settlement after all the fees are taken out. But, before you ask to negotiate fees, get a settlement estimate from your attorney to help you calculate how much your part of the settlement will be after the attorney's fees and medical expenses are deducted. In this type of situation, it is possible for your attorney to reduce their fees to help you receive a larger net payout compensation after all the medical and other bills are paid. If an attorney you are consulting with is not willing to negotiate their fees, resulting in your receiving little or none at all, look for a different attorney before signing an agreement.
Why You Should Track and Understand Fees
It is important to ask your attorney if any extra expenses may be necessary in your settlement case, as you will be responsible for paying for them. Additional expenses can include expert witnesses, a private investigator, or a case deposition. These services each charge hourly rates in addition to your attorney's fees, so find out an estimate of what you can expect to pay.
Next, you should ask your attorney if it is possible your case will need to go to trial in a lawsuit, which can cost you more and take longer to reach a settlement if your case wins. You can request your attorney to consult with you to get your approval before they make any decisions that are going to cost you more money in fees.
Use these tips to help you when hiring an car accident injury attorney. You can also visit sites like http://daglawteam.com to learn more.